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Internet Dangers and Awareness for Children | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing


In 2019, THE Namibian carried an article headlined ‘Internet game drives 10-year-old to suicide’.

According to the article, a young boy and his friends were playing a game called “the momo challenge”, when they received an image on their phones and were allegedly instructed to commit suicide.

It was a tragic loss that could have been prevented through sufficient online safety awareness, particularly among the primary school demographic.

In 2020, Unicef raised an alarm about children being at increased risk while online during the Covid pandemic.

Unicef said “spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Children as young as two are exposed to the internet through YouTube channels like Cocomelon. Cocomelon songs are so popular that even parents happily sing along.

Young children are often left unattended while watching these videos for extended periods of time.

BROWSER BEWARE

In the past, homework would include finding a magazine or newspaper to do research on a topic. Today, homework is done on the internet.

“Teacher said we should use the internet to search about coronavirus,” a child visiting a public library that offers free internet services would often say.

Children can download computer games and spend hours playing them. Because they use public libraries and without parental supervision, they are often left unattended while browsing the internet.

Without internet safety awareness, unsuspecting youngsters may fall victim to online predators and other dangers lurking on the web.

Roblox is an internet game with a multiplayer format that allows free and open communication between players.

Parents without online safety awareness are unaware that strangers may be communicating with their children through what they perceive as a harmless game.

Did you know that your children might be sending private pictures of themselves to strangers via online games?

Your child may develop an online friendship with a predator who could request nude pictures after a challenge.

The Internet Watchdog Foundation warns that children worldwide are being abused.

Research by the foundation on online child exploitation found 2 082 images and videos of live-streamed child sexual abuse.

The report states that 98% of images found were of children aged 13 and under, 28% were aged 10 or under, while the youngest victim was just three.

Human trafficking of children has been on the rise and Namibia may not be an exception as cases of missing children are often reported in the media.

A21, a non-profit organisation that deals with preventing human trafficking, estimated that of the 40 million people enslaved worldwide, 64% of victims recorded in Africa are children.

IT’S UP TO US

As parents we cannot rely on NGOs, the government or teachers to educate our children on the dangers presented by the internet.
It is our duty to do due diligence by ensuring our children are educated first and foremost at home.

The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and children from China are already learning to code in primary school.

We cannot keep our children from using the internet, but parents need to be proactive by educating their children about internet dangers from a very young age.

My daughter recorded a kiddies’ awareness creation song, entitled ‘Internet Danger’.

The aim is to educate children in her age category on how to surf the internet safely.

There is no better way to educate children than through song and dance as children that young will not comprehend a speech or lengthy article.

My daughter is not a musician nor are there plans for her to enter the music industry. However, she shared what she is learning with other children through a playful song.

  • Paulina N Moses is a media practitioner and author.



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